I have really been enjoying all the knitting that has been going on around here and felt I really wanted to knit a cowl with naturally dyed wool with an autumn theme. I have been saving onions skins in a packet in the veggie drawer and I finally had enough today to dye some wool. It is such fun watching the colours develop in the dye pot and attach to the wool. So if you feel you would like to give natural dyeing a try, I took some photos of the process to share here…
About 5 handfuls of red and brown onion skins
Stainless steel pot used only for your dyeing
Wind your wool into a skein if it isn’t already in one. Soak the skein in a bowl of water for a few hours, making sure the water reaches every part of your skein. Then place some vinegar in the water and leave this to stand for another hour or so.
I love the look of these onion skins!
Fill your pot half full with water and place the onion skins in the water. Push the skins under the water and turn on the heat. Bring the pot to almost boiling point, don’t let it boil as I find this ruins the vibrant colour. Then turn down the heat and let it cool a little. It is always a good idea to let the wool and the dye bath be the same temperature when the wool is placed in the pot so that it isn’t ‘shocked’ as this will negatively affect the colourway.
Place the skein of wool in the dye bath and allow the pot to simmer gently, don’t let it boil or the colour will become a dirty brown and the wool will felt. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes until there is a beautiful rich colour on the wool.
When you are happy with the colour, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
When your wool has cooled, remove it from the dye bath and rinse it in a basin of water.
Gently squeeze out the water from the skein and hang it out to dry.
And that’s all there is too it:)
PS. this embroidered tea towel is one I sewed when I was in primary school…
Happy wool dyeing!